NHLPA President Donald Fehr has defended his association’s decision to not participate in a national anti-doping summit, telling NHL.com’s Mike Bossy that he and his players have been informed of the decision and the timing.
“I think we’re going to continue to be a leader in this and we’ll continue to have a voice,” Fehr said.
“I think it’s a big deal.
We’ve been trying to do it for a long time.
And we were successful.”
In addition to the NHL, the NHLPA has also been working with players, coaches and executives to get the word out about the drug-testing protocols and to encourage them to seek out alternative treatments.
Fehr said the league and the NHL Players Association have been working for a year and a half to get an anti-Doping summit underway, and that the league is now ready to host it.
“We’ve had a great partnership with the players,” Fehl said.
“[And] it’s very important that they’re able to have the support that they need to make this happen.”
In June, the union, NHLPA, the league, and several other organizations issued a joint statement calling for the testing of athletes as part of a broader effort to combat doping in sport.
Fehr was one of the signatories, and the union has made no secret of the importance of the meeting, with the league not holding its first such gathering in nearly a decade.
The NHL and the NFL have been engaged in a decades-long battle over drug testing for decades.
Both have made efforts to improve the quality of players’ drug tests, but it has been a slow process, with both sides finding ways to undermine each other.
The league’s efforts to get its players to undergo drug testing came to a head in the early 2000s, when the league’s drug-test policies were put in place.
The league has made significant changes since then, and its anti-testing efforts have led to more positive tests for players, including the arrest of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The NBA has also made a concerted effort to crack down on doping in the sport, but the league has yet to hold its first conference of its kind in nearly two decades.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said the NBA is prepared to host a conference if the league receives positive drug testing results for players.
The NFLPA and the league are expected to hold a conference on Thursday, with Fehr and league commissioner Roger Goodell set to deliver remarks.
The first scheduled meeting of the new conference will take place at the National Sports Foundation, which is located in Bethesda, Maryland.
Feh and Goodell are expected there as well.